A Goodbye to Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain tribute | Man in shadow | Photo by Leilani Solera
Man in shadow | Photo by Leilani Solera

There were times I loved him and there were times I thoroughly disliked him. But I don’t know if I’d ever have thought of writing a blog like this if it hadn’t been for Anthony Bourdain. His shows inspired a whole generation of travellers. And while, yes, his features on places like Provence and Venice made us all long for gondolas and lavender fields, his thoughtful, in-depth, sometimes brutal and ugly approach was the springboard for many of our most meaningful explorations. He challenged us to think more, ask more, see more, feel more, do more, go more, be more. He was our hero in so many ways.

I can’t say I am surprised he went out this way because it always seemed to me he had a troubled undercurrent. Demons — under control until they aren’t.  Not that I can claim to truly know him because I obviously don’t but that was how I saw him. He was either going to grow old into a cantankerous curmudgeon (yes, both, for emphasis) or…this.

In personality, we couldn’t be as far apart, but in many ways, I aspired to be like him. I wanted to be as good with words as he was, as open-minded as he was, as brave and truthful and brave with the truth as he was. It must be said there was much to dislike him for as well but he had the grace to own up to his mistakes and often made up for them handsomely.

It can hardly matter to him now but he leaves behind a deep-rooted legacy — in travel, in life — that death will not be able to erase.

Thank you, Tony. Fare well.

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Candles in Notre Dame, taken in 2011, during a trip more than a bit inspired by Anthony Bourdain’s show No Reservations

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4 thoughts on “A Goodbye to Bourdain”

  • Richard Cory
    BY EDWIN ARLINGTON ROBINSON
    Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
    We people on the pavement looked at him:
    He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
    Clean favored, and imperially slim.

    And he was always quietly arrayed,
    And he was always human when he talked;
    But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
    “Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.

    And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
    And admirably schooled in every grace:
    In fine, we thought that he was everything
    To make us wish that we were in his place.

    So on we worked, and waited for the light,
    And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
    And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
    Went home and put a bullet through his head.

    This poem reminds me of Anthony. Sadly. The man who fulfilled his dream and left it.

    • Ohhh! I haven’t read this poem in a long while but you’re right, it absolutely fits. We just never know what’s going on with the people we *think* have got everything going for them. Thanks for this.

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